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There are already questions related to bereits and schon in this forum.

I made this sentence:

I've already stayed at your hotel with my friends.
Ich habe schon mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel übernachtet.

Translator shows:

Ich war bereits mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel.

As per answers on other questions asked on same topic, there is no difference between schon and bereits. If so, then how come the verb changes to "war" while using bereits? Otherwise, have I made the wrong sentence by using the verb "habe"? I used verb habe for past peferct uebernachtet.

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    I don't understand the question. What do you mean by "the verb changes while using bereits"? The translator chose to translate have stayed with war and already with bereits. This doesn't imply that other translations are wrong.
    – David Vogt
    Sep 8, 2021 at 5:43
  • The verb is 'übernachten' and 'sein' respectively. The 'habe' belongs to past tense (Perfekt) of übernachten Sep 8, 2021 at 6:27
  • @planetmaker Do you mean to say that writing "habe...übernachten" and "war bereits" implies same thing? Sep 8, 2021 at 6:45
  • @DavidVogt I don't know whether I am right or translator is or both of us are right or wrong. I am trying to know the grammar behind using the verbs "habe schon...übernachten" and "war bereits". When translator uses war bereits, it avoids using the verb "übernachten". Does that mean we can replace the verb übernachten with war bereits. I understand war is past tense of sein and habe is past perfekt for übernachten. So, using both alternatively makes no difference? Sep 8, 2021 at 6:49

2 Answers 2

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You never translate words, you always translate meanings. And very often you use different words for the same maenings in different languages. And this is the case here.

The english word "to stay" is "bleiben" in German. So, a word-by-word translation would be:

I have already stayed at your hotel with my friends.
Ich habe bereits geblieben bei Ihrem Hotel mit meinen Freunden.

But this sentence is wrong. The verb "bleiben" needs "sein" as auxiliary verb instead of "haben" and only one verb can be at position 2, so the other must move to the end, and the preposition "bei" means "next to" but we want to say "in", and in German it sounds better to have the friends before the hotel:

I have already stayed at your hotel with my friends.
Ich bin bereits mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel geblieben.

Now we have a grammatically correct sentence, but now there is the problem that you need other words in German to express the same meaning as in English.

The German word "bleiben" means not to change a certain state.

Das Hemd bleibt schmutzig, obwohl ich es schon dreimal gewaschen habe.
The shirt remains dirty even though I've washed it three times.

You also can use it when you want to stay for longer in a hotel:

Nein, ich reise heute doch noch nicht ab. Ich bleibe hier noch eine weitere Woche.
No, I'm not leaving today after all. I'm staying here for another week.

But once you left the hotel, you can no longer use the word "bleiben", because you already changed the state: You left.

When you spend some days in a hotel, then you can use the verb "wohnen". This is "live" in English (like in living room = Wohnzimmer). The verb "wohnen" needs "haben" as auxiliary verb:

I have already stayed at your hotel with my friends.
Ich habe bereits mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel gewohnt.

Now it is a sentence that native speakers understand and would say themselves. But "wohnen" sounds like "spend your whole life at this place". This is to heavy, too intense for staying in a hotel. You only sleep there, so you only spend the nights in the hotel. This is "übernachten" in German ("to spend the night" in English):

I have already stayed at your hotel with my friends.
Ich habe bereits mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel übernachtet.

This is even better than the version with "wohnen". But in fact nobody cares what you did in the hotel. The meaning in the English sentence is only, that you have been in the hotel. We can say this in German too:

I have already stayed at your hotel with my friends.
Ich war bereits mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel.
("I have already been to your hotel with my friends.")


And in all these cases, it doesn't matter if you use "schon" or "bereits". You can use both:

Ich habe bereits mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel gewohnt.
Ich habe schon mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel gewohnt.

Ich habe bereits mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel übernachtet.
Ich habe schon mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel übernachtet.

Ich war bereits mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel.
Ich war schon mit meinen Freunden in Ihrem Hotel.

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    That was an amazing explanation. While trying to frame sentence, I had used bleiben. But, while reading more articles, I noticed bleiben is not always the right usage so I used uebernachtet. Through your answer, now I also found the logical reason of when to use and not to use bleiben in such context. Thank you for writing down a good flow of explanation that also gives the clarity to me about method of studying verbs. Sep 8, 2021 at 9:39
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Your translation is perfect, the translator just picked a different one which is as good as yours.

"Schon" and "bereits" both mean "already". You can use either one.

"Ich war in Ihrem Hotel" and "Ich habe in Ihrem Hotel übernachtet" are two different ways to translate "I stayed at your hotel". You can use either one, and you can combine both of them freely with "schon" and "bereits". "Ich habe übernachtet" is obviously a little bit more precise and formal than "Ich war".

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